Dysentery, which causes bloody diarrhea, comes in several types that are classified by the infectious source. Amebic dystentery is caused by some type of amoeba, usually Entamoeba histolytica. Bacillary dystentery is caused by bacteria, usually a member of the Shigella genus. Dysentery can be extremely serious and is generally treated by a health care practitioner.
1. Provide immediate hydration for anyone with dysentery. This should consist of oral hydration with water and electrolytes. Medical personnel may prepare electrolyte solutions by mixing clean water with packets of salt or sugar in emergency relief operations.
2. Take medication for amebic dysentery. The medication for symptomatic dysentery where cysts are present is usually metronidazole with tinidazole. These drugs may not eliminate all of the cysts and should be followed up with diloxanide furoate, iodoquinol or paromomycin. Treat asymptomatic amebic dysentery only in non-endemic areas or if the patient has AIDS. The recommended medications for asymptomatic dysentery include diloxanide furoate, iodoquinol and paromomycin.
3. Consider surgery only for severe cases of amebic dysentery. A toxic megacolon may require a total colectomy and a liver abscess may require surgical drainage if it ruptures into the pericardium.
4. Administer supportive treatment for most cases of bacillary dysentery. Treat a high fever in children but avoid narcotic antidiarrheal medication due to the severe side effects of prolonged treatment with this type of medication. Provide antibiotics for most cases of bacillary dysentery.
5. Consult with an expert in gastroenterology or infectious diseases if the dysentery is prolonged or is unresponsive to antibiotics.